Tag Archives: Randy Wayne White

A cruel past threatens to wreak havoc on an uncertain present

Mangrove Lightning, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 352 pages. Hardcover $27.00.

Though many of Mr. White’s earlier entries in his Doc Ford mystery series have generated fear, not one has been as persistently scary as “Mangrove Lightning.” It’s an odd brew of local history, unnatural quirks in the natural world, grotesque legends, and even more grotesque characters. It is fed by events on different timelines that come into focus and then dissolve.  

Much of the plot revolves around the past and present doings of two families: the Barlows and the Lambeths. The Lambeths are a mysterious and evil-tainted tribe given to all kinds of perversions and crimes. Members of this weird family are huge physical specimens. The enjoy cruel satisfactions and a wide range of narcotics. Their human prey often disappears, perhaps boiled down to bones and chemicals. They have some connection to Chinese slaves. The Lambeths are not to be crossed. The influence of Walter Lambeth permeates his descendants, who seem to live under a spell.

Those who stumble into Lambeth country in the backwaters of SW Florida may not get out. They will be haunted by strange voices that repeat bloodcurdling threats. Doc Ford and his buddy Tomlinson find themselves among those who have to deal with the present generation of Lambeths, in whom cunning and madness coexist.

White – photo by Wendy Webb

The Barlows are represented by a premier and legendary fishing captain nicknamed Tootsie. Plenty of bad news in that family, but Tootsie is revered. His rebellious teenage niece Gracie is missing, and both Tomlinson and Doc are involved in trying to find and, if necessary, rescue her. Indeed, Gracie is only the latest member of Tootsie’s family to have been sought out to pay the price for some terrible doings that occurred in the mid-1920s. It seems as if a dark family feud is being played out. . . .

To read the full review, as it appears in the March 22, 2017 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 23 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Mangrove Lightning

 

 

BOOK SIGNINGS:

MARCO ISLAND, FL / Saturday, March 25 at 2:00 PM

Sunshine Booksellers, 677 S. Collier Blvd

http://sunshinebooksellers.com/

FORT MYERS, FL / Saturday, March 25 at 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble #2711, 13751 Tamiami Trail

https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2711

SARASOTA, FL / Sunday, March 26 at 12:00 PM

Bookstore1, 12 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236

http://www.bookstore1sarasota.com/

DELRAY BEACH, FL / Wednesday, March 29 at 7:00 PM

Murder on the Beach, 273 NE 2nd Ave.

http://www.murderonthebeach.com/

CAPTIVA, FL / Friday, March 31 from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, 5400 S Seas Plantation Rd

https://www.docfords.com/captiva-island/

FORT MYERS BEACH, FL / Monday, April 3 from 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, 708 Fishermans Wharf

https://www.docfords.com/ft-myers-beach/

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Science is sexy in scintillating Hannah Smith thriller

Seduced, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 352 pages. Hardcover $27.00.

Pythons, orange trees of ancient stock, infidelity, madness, and greed. Is that all there is? Well, no. There is Mr. White’s gloriously complicated, totally unglamorous, and fiercely independent Hannah Smith.  seducedjacket

As in much of RWW’s previous work, Florida’s history and natural assets are much in evidence, as is the author’s interest in saving what’s left of the indigenous wildlife and ecosystem. In many of his novels, Mr. White makes science interesting, and “Seduced” is no exception. The extended, plausibly introduced discussions on how orange trees propagate, along with the reasons for finding clones of the original 16th century stock brought by Spanish adventurers, are powerfully addictive.

DNA issues, patents on seed development processes, and the money to be made from disease-resistant strains of citrus take Hannah, her allies, and her adversaries to dangerous cypress swamps, islands that like much of Florida are now denuded of the indigenous animal population by the intrusions of ravenous giant pythons and other exotic predators. Hey, if you’re going to find the ur-orange trees you’re going to have to risk death by python.

True to form in the Randy Wayne White world, the predator most to be feared is the homo sapien.

White author photo by Wendy Webb

White author photo by Wendy Webb

From her cabin cruiser, Hannah sees some disturbance at her mom’s cracker house. Turns out stroke survivor Loretta’s been keeping up her affair with the former lieutenant governor of Florida, a wealthy old philanderer named Harney Chatham. Chatham seems to have died in the love-making, and now it seems wise to move the body in order to disguise the place of death.

This frantic exercise in saving already wounded reputations soon puts Hannah in the company of Reggie (the deceased’s loyal driver) and other Chatham employees.  Among them is Kermit Bigalow, the manager of the Chatham citrus groves – a sizeable enterprise threatened by plant disease.

Bigalow, in a failing marriage and with a young daughter, is quickly enamored with Hannah – and doesn’t hide his attraction. Hannah, off-guard, is first responsive to his advances, but then cools things off and sets limits. She and Bigalow share the interest in saving the threatened orange groves; Bigalow is particularly interested in the financial benefit of controlling breakthroughs in the cure. However, as widow Lonnie Chatham makes clear, she would own those discoveries made by him while in her employ.

Lonnie, a former cheerleader, has long tolerated Harney’s indiscretions (including his affair with Loretta). She is busy protecting her turf now that he’s passed away. She’s locked Kermit out of his job, and she’s worried about land Harney has willed to Hannah. Moreover, there is evidence to keep hidden that threatens her own rights to inheritance. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the October 19, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the October 20 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here:  Florida Weekly – Seduced

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Doc Ford’s deadly assignment brings trouble to his island community

Deep Blue, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 336 pages. Hardcover $27.00.

Though we rarely see Doc Ford on one of his secret government assignments these days, one has come his way. He must, says his government handler, assassinate a madman who has reached the top of the most wanted terrorist list. A recent convert to Islam, Chicagoan David Abdel Cashmere, AKA Maximo Al-Amerikee, has been making a lot of trouble by heading people with his ruby-handled Persian knife and circulating videos of his slayings. A failed actor, he has now become a star. ISIS calls him its American Senior Operative and Video Advisor. cover_DEEPBLUE

Sound a bit over-the-top? Yes, and you’ll love it. Surreal, whacky, but darn scary and suspenseful, too.

Our hero, now in Mr. White’s 23rd Doc Ford adventure, packs up his tool kit and heads for a swanky resort near the ruins of ancient Tulum, on the Yucatan peninsula. After some preliminary surveillance and study, he meets his supposed contact, an attractive woman named KAT. Somewhat suspicious of her behavior, he sends her a message that the mission has been scrubbed and assesses her reaction.

From here on, Doc knows that there’s a game on that involves manipulating him, perhaps even substituting his assigned target for another. More than that, he discovers that his community on Sanibel Island is in jeopardy.

Two unusual occurrences threaten the Dinkin’s Bay Marina. One is the appearance of Hello Dolly, a great white shark that is at once a source of fear and a possible source of increased or collapsed tourism. The other is the appearance of two drones. Extremely well designed, they do not seem to be under the control of government agencies.

White - photo by Wendy Webb

White – photo by Wendy Webb

Other odd things happen. Some force (or someone) invades and captures Sanibel area cyberspace, taking over computers and other electronic devices in a show of power.

Soon enough, readers get to know the main villains. More about David Cashmere is revealed, and a grotesque pair – an estranged father and son of great intellect, wealth, and criminal intent – come into play. The father is Winslow Shepherd, whom Doc had seen in the company of KAT (conceivably a traitor or double agent). The son, Julian, is a madman whose derangement and genius far exceeds that of the Muslim terrorist. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the March 16, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 17 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Deep Blue

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A brighter, softer, funnier installation in the ‘Doc Ford’ series

Cuba Straits, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 336 pages. Hardcover $26.95.

This book is a pleasant change of pace after “Doc Ford” series titles dominated by words like deep, dead, and dark. Yes, all those elements (with their neighbors named night, shadow, and black) are still lurking, but there is something brighter, softer, and just plain funnier about “Cuba Straits.” Perhaps this is because Doc Ford’s sometimes sidekick and constant nuisance Tomlinson, a drug-expanded loony-tunes, is in full bloom here. Naively hilarious with his karmic insights and self-aggrandizing moral gestures, Tomlinson steals long stretches of the novel.  Jacket_Cuba_Straits

Many characters introduced for the first time are at once menacing and humorous. However, Doc Ford, the ballast that keeps this production in balance and afloat, is his winsome, stoic, complicated, and courageous self.

Oh, yeah – the book is about baseball, sixty years of Cuban history, a weird cult, a Russian spy, powerful females, buried Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and hidden love letters.

The term “strait” is usually defined as a narrow passage between larger bodies of water, but I find no reference to Cuba Straits outside of the title of Mr. White’s book. It is surely meant to be a place name, but perhaps the other meaning of strait (or straits) is just as important to the novel’s focus: “a position of difficulty, distress or need.” That defines Cuba and the situation of its people pretty well.

In the spirit of baseball and comic hijinks, let’s play “who’s on first.”

Gen. Juan Simón Rivera? At a minor league baseball game in Fort Myers, Ford and Tomlinson run into Ford’s old acquaintance, the former dictator of a small Latin American country. Rivera smuggled shortstop Figueroa Casanova into the U. S., but now he’s lost him and insists on Fords’ help. What’s missing along with Figgy is an old briefcase with a horde of letters from the brothers Castro.

White / photo by Wendy Webb

White / photo by Wendy Webb

Some of these are love letters, others have the potential of shedding light on the Cuban Revolution, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and the murder of JFK.

Rivera is quite an entrepreneur, with a thriving business smuggling Cuban ballplayers as well as baseball artifacts.

Figgy is also quite a character. Though he is more or less functional, he clearly has a screw loose somewhere and had been an inmate in a mental institution for three years. He has no problem with committing murder to solve his problems. He sees the world in a way that is both frightening and wackily humorous. Figgy’s grandmother had been the secret mistress of a Castro brother and the recipient of those valuable letters. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the April 22, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the April 23 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, and the May 28 Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter edition click here: Florida Weekly – Cuba Straits

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Latest Hannah Smith outing is a tone poem in darkness and determination

Haunted, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 352 pages. Hardcover $26.95.

This novel, the third in the Hannah Smith series, contains some of Mr. White’s best writing ever. He has deepened Hannah’s character, addressing her demons, passions, intelligence, and moral fiber in ways both compelling and profound. He has painted the area around Florida’s Caloosahatchee River with artistic brilliance, often using the darkest pigments on his palette. He has collected a gallery of grotesques – human and near-human – that will make your blood curdle. He has once again dangled a bit of local history, this time Civil War era, to complicate while enhancing our understanding of the present action, layering its impact and meaning. jacket_large_Haunted

This time out, we meet Hannah assisting the aunt of her good friend, Deputy Sheriff Birdy Tupplemeyer. The aunt, Bunnie Tupplemeyer, is a manipulative Palm Beach widow with a problem. She is part of an investment group that had purchased just over six hundred acres of land on the north side of the Caloosahatche River between Arcadia and Labelle. Now she wants to get out of her part of the deal. What she has discovered about the history of the property is unsettling. So is its intended use as a condo development. Her lawyer believes that the seller had broken a disclosure law and that Bunnie can use that infraction to recoup her investment.

Hannah’s job is to explore the property, which includes an historic home named Cadence Place, and strengthen Bunnie’s case. A history buff whose family has long roots in the region, expert fishing guide and part-time detective Hannah is excited about this unexpected assignment – it’s not her usual case. What she discovers, however, is a nightmare of twisted minds and destructive obsession.

Has this place been poisoned by terrible things that have happened there?

WhiteAuthorPhotobyWendyWebb

Briefly, Hannah and Birdy make the decaying old mansion their base of operations. Before long, they are frightened out of their wits by strange sounds of all kinds. They are assaulted, or at least feel threatened, by scorpions, snakes, and various other critters. Though an experienced outdoorswoman, Hannah has difficulties with the dark spookiness of the place. Is the ghost of the beautiful Irene Cadence still restlessly haunting her home? Is that the wind . . . or Irene’s scream?

Then there are the devilish humans. First among these is Dr. Theo Ivanoff, a youngish man purporting to be an assistant professor with expertise in Civil War history. The first impression, that he’s “a tad strange,” turns into something much worse when the true madness and cruelty of this individual is revealed. Ivanoff is soon a threat, assisted by a seeming half-wit named Carmelo and a strange breed of chimpanzees – a couple with something very close to human intelligence, enormous strength and cunning, and ferocious loyalty to their master. There is also a witchy woman named Lucia and a hidden population of frightening, if not altogether dangerous, characters. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 13, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the August 14 Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, and Naples editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Haunted.

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New White thriller uncovers Florida’s past and its coveted, buried riches

Bone Deep, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 384 pages. $26.95.

Readers are lucky that in the imaginary world in which Mr. White’s Doc Ford lives, trouble will seek Doc out. Sometimes it’s as simple and predictable as having his old buddy, Tomlinson, ask a favor for a friend. Hey, can you help my friend get back some antiquarian carvings that help define his family’s Native American heritage?

Sure, why not?

And before long we are in the word of phosphate mining, possible water pollution, a Central Florida elephant preserve, a lunatic biker improbably named Quirk who has a metal tool kit in place of a hand, and an underworld of nutty grifters hooked on fossils and lost (or hidden) treasures from centuries gone by. Bone_Deeplarge

Some are seeking art, artifacts, and history; others are only seeking the money that rarities can bring. Some try to feed their greed within the law; others just don’t want to get caught. And still others will murder. All these seekers are gamblers, addicted to risk and, in some cases, vulnerable to the whims of their creditors.

What is quite astounding in this tension-packed novel is how much scientific and cultural information the author transmits without getting bogged down in stiff, pedantic exposition.

Natural history is the broad background of knowledge, particularly the natural history of the Florida peninsula and the layers of its geography and geology. Readers get to tour fossil and bone fields, explore the shifting balance  of water and terra firma over the eons, and the shifting fortunes of  indigenous tribes and colonial entrepreneurs who lived, died and left their secrets behind to be the fools’ gold of the future.

“Bone Deep” has a large cast of compelling and repulsive characters, their destinies interwoven in the compact present of a sharply drawn plot. These include the Tomlinson friend, Duncan “Dunk” Fallsdown, the Crow from Montana on the trail of artifacts stolen from tribal lands. Part shaman and part sham, Dunk is at once irritating and ingratiating.  Like Tomlinson, he is a test of Doc Ford’s patience – only as honest as he needs to be.

WhiteAuthorPhotobyWendyWebb

Then there is Leland Albright, present day head of a declining phosphate-based business empire who offers Doc a job analyzing the water quality of three lakes in the family’s fossil-filled quarries. Mr. White sets his portrait of tall, gangly, withdrawn Leland into a generational history that becomes a prototype for the rise and fall of family fortunes. Mammoth Ridge Mines was started and built up by Leland’s grandfather and mismanaged by the next generation. On Leland’s watch it will either recover or be forever lost.  And things aren’t going well. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the March 12, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 13 Bonita Springs, Naples, and Charlotte County editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Bone Deep

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Deception and corruption reign in White’s latest SW Florida thriller

Deceived, by Randy Wayne White. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 352 pages. $26.95 hardcover.

This second installment in Mr. White’s Hannah Smith series, following the powerhouse debut of “Gone,” is totally satisfying. A reader with high expectations is easily disappointed; this reader had a delightful time getting to know Hannah better and being frightened, along with her, by mysterious and cruel events that test her courage and determination.  DECEIVEDbyRandyWayneWhite

There is a little corner of coastal Southwest Florida, not far from Sanibel Island, that has a troubled history and a threatened present. It’s officially known as Sulfur Wells. Hannah tells her curious fishing clients that the row of tiny tin-roofed cottages is known as Munchkinville . One of these men, a member of the important Chatham family, collects antique fishing equipment; the other, good-looking Joel “Rance” Ransler, at first hides his identity as special prosecutor for the county. What are these men really fishing for, underdeveloped real estate?

More than a few strange things are happening. Hannah’s mother, Loretta, is concerned that her good friend Rosannah “Pinky” Helms can’t be located. Soon, Hannah goes out to PInky’s dilapidated home and – though threatened by ferocious dogs and a crazed, axe-wielding man – finds that Pinky has been murdered.

Is there any connection between this murder and the unsolved murder of Pinky’s late husband many years ago?

Randy Wayne White

Randy Wayne White

Some of Loretta’s valuable possessions, which had be put in the custody of the Helms family, have disappeared. Is there a connection between their disappearance and the pamphlets describing an organization called “Fisherfolk of South Florida” which touts a “Preserve Our Heritage” motto? It seems as if the elderly locals are being scammed by a scheme that invites donations of their family heirlooms to fund a local heritage museum. The scammers push the idea that the donors can get tax benefits from the government that is usually busy regulating their livelihoods – like fishing –out of existence.

And what’s that monstrous building looming alongside of Loretta’s modest home and grounds? How did bad neighbor and shady shrink Dr. Candor, psychiatric clinic and rehab center entrepreneur, have a bunch of zoning codes waived for that edifice? And where are the remains of the historic Indian shell mounds that were demolished to level the land? . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the August 28, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the August 29 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte editions, and the September 5 Palm Beach Garden / Jupiter edition, click here: Florida Weekly – White’s “Deceived”

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White’s 20th Doc Ford adventure is one of the best

Night Moves, by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 368 pages. $26.95.

In 1945, five Navy torpedo bombers called Avengers took off from Fort Lauderdale and disappeared on a mission named Flight 19. The planes and fourteen men vanished, to become transformed into legend and into the search objective of many treasure hunters and other adventurers who’d want credit, fame, and who knows what else by solving the mystery.

Now, almost seventy years later, Doc Ford, his drug-enhanced ethereal buddy Tomlinson, and veteran pilot Dan Futch are flying over the Everglades to test Dan’s theory of where the planes went down. A mechanical failure leads do an emergency landing, after which Dan discovers that the seaplane was sabotaged to fail. NIGHTMOVEScover

Who would want to do such a thing? Is someone simply after Dan Futch? Or are there people who would like to see this particular quest fail? Why? Are there competitors who hope to claim discovery rights for the long-gone aircraft? Or is the saboteur actually after Tomlinson, who has been tempting fate by romancing the gorgeous, semi-crazed Cressa Arturo, a wealthy married woman on the edge of divorce?

But wait, Tomlinson has also made an enemy of Kondo Ogbay, a Haitian narcotics overlord. Could Ogbay have arranged the mechanical breakdown to injure or kill Tomlinson? Or just to threaten him?

Whatever is going on in Doc Ford’s world, a lot of it is being surreptitiously photographed.

WhiteAuthorPhotobyWendyWebb

As the pursuit of evidence about the missing Avengers moves forward, the plot population grows. We meet a jet-set assassin with at least two names who alternately snubs, threatens, and befriends Doc Ford. This handsome, dashing fellow, at once Brazilian and Germanic, is a history buff who would greatly enjoy being in on the Flight 19 search action. Mr. White skillfully builds the grudging respect that Doc and this elite killer (a kind of alter ego for Doc) have for one another.

Night Moves has a wide range of integrated details that enrich the readers’ sense of context and culture without being ultimately necessary to the plot. Information about a Native American Bone Field in the Everglades, concerns about illegal fishing techniques, and even a narrative thread that exploits the increase in the region’s population of large exotic snakes all show Randy Wayne White’s skills in weaving a hugely interesting tapestry of environmental and atmospheric complexity. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the March 27, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the March 28 Naples edition, the April 11 Charlotte County edition, and the May 2 Palm Beach County/Jupiter edition, click here Florida Weekly – Night Moves 1 and here Florida Weekly – Night Moves 2

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Randy Wayne White launches new series with a stunner

“Gone,” by Randy Wayne White. Putman.  336 pages.  $25.95.

In his latest novel, Randy Wayne White has taken a big chance, and it has a huge payoff.  After nineteen reliably exciting Doc Ford thrillers, he has begun a new series featuring Hannah Smith. Hannah is a fishing guide in Mr. White’s familiar territory – coastal Southwest Florida and is adjacent islands. She took over the business from her late Uncle Jake, and with it a rather moribund private detective agency. In her early thirties, Hannah is a tall, unconventionally attractive woman who does not usually think highly of herself. However, she has begun to find some late-bloomer confidence. And she’ll need all she can muster. 

A wealthy and somewhat eccentric fishing client, Lawrence Seasons, observing Hannah’s resourcefulness on a troubled fishing trip, determines that she is the one to find out what has happened to his missing niece, Olivia. The vanished young woman has a mind-boggling inheritance awaiting signature on a legal document. Since Olivia is not an adventurous person, Lawrence is worried about her having dropped out of sight. Once Lawrence’s choice is seconded by his good friend and lawyer, Martha Caulder-Shaun, Hannah swings into action.

From conversations with her wide range of local acquaintances, Hannah determines that Olivia may have fallen under the influence, perhaps the control, of Texas bad-boy Ricky Meeks. Meeks is a monster, one of the very best among the many that Mr. White has created over the years. His obsessive need to dominate and inflict pain is matched by his uncanny ability to foster dependency in the women whom he makes his prey. Hannah finds out about one such victim, Elka Whitney. Slowly, Hannah pulls out of her an understanding of the mesmerizing sick artistry of Meeks through which his sadly abused victims end up being jealous of his next victims.

How can a reserved young woman like Olivia Seasons survive the physical and psychological damage that Meeks lives to mete out? How can she be found, separated from Meeks, and set on the path to restored self respect? What will Hannah have to risk to secure Olivia’s rescue? . . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 30, 2012 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly, the September 5 Fort Myers edition, and the September 6 Bonita Springs edition, click here: Florida Weekly – RWW’s “Gone” 1 and here: Florida Weekly – RWW’s “Gone” 2.

For my comments on other RWW books, click here: https://philjason.wordpress.com/?s=Randy+Wayne+White

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In White’s latest, Doc Ford’s adventure runs aground

“Chasing Midnight,” by Randy Wayne White. Putnam. 336 pages. $25.95

Like some other recent novels in the Doc Ford canon, this latest thriller deals in painstaking detail with a very brief time period and – almost literally – a ticking clock. When environmental do-gooders, some of them crazed, manage to inject themselves into a secret meeting of kingpins in the beluga sturgeon (caviar) industry, Ford and his buddy Tomlinson discover that there is a plot to blow up the meeting and, perhaps, a large boat carrying a huge tank filled with a new sturgeon breed. 

The explosion is set for midnight.

The men holding the meeting are competitors, and one of them claims that his new breed will revolutionize the industry by replacing the threatened beluga that is nearing extinction from overfishing.  The ultra-extreme environmentalists, actually rank amateurs at terrorist doings, take control of the meeting and threaten to kill people off – one an hour – until their demands are met. At midnight, the time for capitulation runs out.

Ford and Tomlinson conceive a plan of investigation and counteraction that just about exhausts the clock, but then discover that the extremists had set their timed explosive on West Coast time. The adventure is then reset for three more hours of action-filled exploits and heart-pounding suspense.

For several reasons, the formula in “Chasing Midnight” produces a less exciting, less rewarding result than Mr. White’s readers have previously enjoyed. More has become less as readers encounter excessive repetition of boat-driving maneuvers, employments of a heat-sensitive optical device, descriptions of weaponry, and examples of Ford’s skills of improvisation and calculation. Every step shouts its importance in a way that levels them all so that, after a while, none seems important.

Randy Wayne White

 In addition, who Ford is and why we should care about him are not sufficiently developed, especially for initiates to the series.

The cast of grotesques with whom Ford and Tomlinson are at war seems overdrawn.  It is hard not to want to laugh at the threat provided by the dwarfish, unstable Neinabor brothers and the dead brother who supposedly speaks through one of them.  Their associates in do-gooder terrorism seem even less equipped to battle the forces of the wily Russian named Viktor Kazlov and the other menacing overlords who constitute the “big four” of the beluga caviar trade.  Individually interesting, there are just too many of them (along with bodyguards and other underlings) to focus and hold attention. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the May 9, 2012 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly and in the May 10 Naples, Bonita Springs, and brand new Viera/Suntree editions, click here: Florida Weekly – RWWhite pdf 1 and continue here: Florida Weekly – RWWhite pdf 2. It also appears in the May 17, 2012 Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter edition.

Other books by RWW are reviewed elsewhere on this site. Use the search box to find them on the right-hand column to find them.

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